… party moots constitutional amendments
• EDUARD MUMBUU JNR
SWAPO may consider amendments to its constitution to expel party members who wish to contest in national or local elections against the party’s fielded candidates.
This was the view of the party’s vice president, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, during an interview with Nampa late last week, which covered various issues, including the emergence of independent candidates within Swapo, who now appear to be a thorn in the flesh of the former liberation movement.
Asked how the party intends to avert future situations of party members standing as independent candidates against the organisation’s fielded candidates, she replied: “As we are moving forward [and] the party members decide, let us open up our constitution for amendments, and demand for that amendment [expulsion of independent candidates]. It will be debated, and once agreed by the congress, then it will be effected. Otherwise you cannot do it in the absence of having a congress to make such an amendment. And it is quite possible for that to be done.”
At least three Swapo members, including independent presidential candidate Panduleni Itula, Otjombinde councillor Katjanaa Kaurivi and boxing promoter Knowledge Ipinge have either indicated their intention to or participated in elections while at the same time holding onto their party membership.
Nandi-Ndaitwah also indicated that a Swapo member in good standing should commonly be seen to have relinquished their party membership the moment they decide to contest an election as an independent candidate.
“There is an article in the party constitution that says every party member has an obligation to respect the decisions taken at all organs of the party, regardless of the fact that they did not agree, or had different views,” she said.